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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Newbie building a Tele

Hi everyone, I been reading a lot of posts over here for the past 5 months or more and learning as much as I can, but less than I'd want to

Of course I planned to build a telecaster sometime as being lefty doesn't come with plenty of options for guitars to choose from, but I still don't have all the tools I think I need to do all the woodworking myself:

Router + table: check
tablesaw: check
drillpress:check
jointer:diy conversion from 3 1/4" hand power planer but works so, check
Missing: thickness planer and bandsaw, living in mexico makes this tools quite expensive, but some day :)

Therefore, the guitar build plan remained a plan only... until my wife asked a couple of weeks ago what I want as a gift for my upcoming birthday... and by then I knew one could find diy guitar kits on ebay

Again, living in mexico makes things complicated as not everyone/every item in ebay ships outside the US, but I thought "let's look anyway" and lo and behold, there was a telecaster style diy guitar kit left handed, and with international shipping, yeah!!!

Forward two weeks, now I have a kit waiting for me to start working on it , and this is it:
Basswood body, maple neck and fretboard with Stratocaster style headstock, I guess it wants to be a custom deluxe somehow:






Of course I have some decisions, and questions to make:

The basswood body is really plain, but it has some tiny little pattern/figure there(I know, not great):


And it matters here because I like the look of transparent colors in wood, I was thinking something like this, #3 was the original idea but as I played with the image came with some other variations:


What do you think, is possible to bring out the mini figure present in the wood somehow to make it worth it to try a finish like this?

Which color do you guys like more?

Btw, so far I'm planning to finish the guitar with min wax polycrylic satin if that matters (brushed in and sanded smooth, easy to work with and I like the results).

Any hints/tips are appreciated, thanks!

Oh, and somehow I think maybe the way I'm adding the pictures is not right, please let me know if I need to fix anything.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 01:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome FreddyS, and belated Happy Birthday. While the red looks good, I like the orange best. Unfortunately, I wouldn't know how to do either right. I am interested in seeing what you do with it. Good luck and congratulations.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 02:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yup, orange.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 04:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I vote number 2 or number 4
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Old June 21st, 2013, 01:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I like the dark brown. It looks like root beer. :)
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 09:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi guys, so orange and dark brown got all the love! I like those too, and my wife said natural. Tough decision but...

I been experimenting with the stuff I had at hand over a piece of pine (hopefully things will be similar in the basswood) and well, the red is growing even more on me hehee, see:


And this will be a good excuse to build another one with other color.

But I'm wondering if the red dye will fade out with time, any experience?

If nothing changes, I'll aim to have it done something similar as this mockup:



I hope to start with the sanding process the next weekend, and probably will have some more questions.

Cheers!
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 10:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was going to vote with your wife, but red looks good, too. Welcome, BTW--

If the red fades, it will be "relic-ed", and therefore more valuable. Should be OK for a few years, at least, and I suspect will be fine for a lifetime, if you don't park it in direct sunlight.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Stratenstein View Post
If the red fades, it will be "relic-ed", and therefore more valuable. Should be OK for a few years, at least, and I suspect will be fine for a lifetime, if you don't park it in direct sunlight.
Good points Rick, thanks!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 12:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi everyone, this weekend started with the guitar body sanding and dyeing, a couple of pics(something went wrong with the attachments, fixed now):

Body sanded:


Body with dye:


All went easy and I like a lot how it's looking so far:


And now have another question, would it be a good idea to attach the neck and hardware(drill all screw holes) now, or to wait until the wood is finished. Maybe I should have done all the drilling before dyeing the body hehee.

Edit: After taking the last pic, I noticed any metal part touching the bare wood is leaving friction marks in the dye, so... I'll have to finish the body first, lesson learned!.

Cheers!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Btw, I noticed minwax polycrylic while being the easiest (for me) to work with, doesn't really harden a lot, in some other stuff where I used polycrylic I can leave nail marks if trying a little bit hard, and basswood is really soft so I'm a little bit worried now.

How other finishes compare, say nitro or lacquer?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 01:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Nitro lacquer gets very hard and polishes to a much nicer shine than polycrylic, and it will make that red come alive. I vote lacquer if that means anything.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input James, I'll see what I can get locally.

So far it seems with nitro I'll need a spray gun. If I find nitro in a spray can, how many would I need for the body?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Freddy, I've had good luck with Minwax spray lacquer aerosol cans, if you can get it in your location. Some people have used Deft spray, which is lacquer, however some users also say Deft does not harden as well as other lacquers. Kind of judgement call on the number of cans. I think I'd use two at minimum, to give a minimal coat that could be sanded flat, carefully. If you plan to sand flat ( get rid of orange peel) then buff to mirror finish, probably need 4 cans or more. Part of the equation is technique and conditions. Lacquer will flow out very nicely, and flatten itself pretty well if sprayed on a horizontal surface (top), and heat/humidity conditions are right. I suspect that in Mexico City, the heat will cause the lacquer to flash off (dry) pretty quickly, and you will have some orange peel to deal with. Not a big deal, a lot of people don't even bother with it, but again, if you want to level out the finish and buff to mirror shine, you'll need a pretty good quantity of the lacquer.

Edit: BTW, to get maximum performance from the spray cans, warm them in warm water before spraying. Also, as the can approaches empty, stop using it, even though it is still spraying, because it will start to spit, causing blobs, possibly runs, and other flaws you'll have to deal with. The good news is that you can deal with lacquer flaws--I hate to "waste" the lacquer, but it's better than scraping and sanding a blob or run off of the front of an otherwise nice finish. Save the cans and use them for other, not-critical finishing projects.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 12:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot for the tips Rick! I been looking at HD website but no luck with minwax spray lacquer cans, I think I remember seeing rustoleum lacquer spray once in the store, I guess I can test with that one.

Another option: i've seen some youtube videos where they apply nitro by hand with a cotton ball wetting the ball, rubbing it in small circles, letting it dry and repeating a couple of times. It appears to work just fine in regular furniture, but sounds like a good idea in a guitar? I haven't decided yet if I want a shinny or satin finish but either way I'll have to sand.

Sadly, I'll have to wait a couple of weeks for a better wheater as the last couple of weeks it's been raining for hours. Today humdity is at 94%
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Old July 5th, 2013, 01:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Watco clear lacquer is nitro in a spray can. Available at Home Depot.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 02:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
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The black appears kinda grey, the red and orange sorta ,well not serious enough, but the dark brown, now that's badass.... will make a good looking Tele.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 02:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
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That red is looking real good Freddy. Nice work, so far.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 10:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Good looking guitar Freddy!
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Old July 6th, 2013, 05:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I like the red.
I haven't heard of applying nitro by hand but many furniture, and some guitar builders apply shellac that way (French Polishing). I did FP at college many years ago and it went very well but I spray nitro finish nowadays. I do seal with shellac first though.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 06:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi guys, thanks for the comments!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecableguy View Post
Watco clear lacquer is nitro in a spray can. Available at Home Depot.
not available over here, beanland HD's are like a small grocery store compared to yours in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafty Fox View Post
I like the red.
I haven't heard of applying nitro by hand but many furniture, and some guitar builders apply shellac that way (French Polishing)...
Actually I found a youtube video where this peruvian guy does the nitro thing by hand and tried myself in a small piece of wood, it worked nice , it is almost like the shellac rubbing part in the french polishing method.

As I don't want to get an air compressor (yet), I'll see if I start the finish tomorrow, if the weather allows, but it's been raining all the week so who knows
¿What can go wrong if I go ahead with the humidity levels too high?

Cheers!
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